Officials Missed Obvious False Start On Alabama's Game-Tying Touchdown In Title Game

Ryan Phillips

Officials have a difficult job, we all know that, but on Monday night the Big Ten crew working the College Football Playoff National Championship missed a few big calls. None bigger than a false start on what would be Alabama’s game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Crimson Tide had the ball on Georgia’s seven-yard-line trailing 20-13. They faced a fourth and four and the result of the play was a seven-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to Calvin Ridley.

Before the snap, running back Najee Harris motioned out of the backfield and lined up on the far left side of the formation. Then, Harris jumped before the snap and should have been flagged for a false start.

As Harris got set out wide to the left, he clearly leans forward, then jumps long before the center snaps the ball. The lean alone is a false start, but he also jumped early.


It’s obvious here that Harris went on Tagovailoa’s clap, not the snap of the ball.

Here’s another look at it:

How on Earth did the officials miss that? That’s just egregious.

Would it have changed anything? We’ll never know. But it was a blatantly missed call on a fourth down with 3:49 left in the national title game. That’s not the time to miss such an obvious infraction.

Alabama went on to win the title 26-23 in overtime on a perfect 41-yard throw from Tagovailoa to fellow freshman DeVonta Smith.